How Taylor Swift Avoided The Fourth Album Curse & Red (TV) Hype

Summary notes created by Deciphr AI


Hosts Cameron and Lisa of "Swiftly Spoken" delve into the "fourth album curse," a phenomenon where an artist's fourth release often underperforms due to factors like burnout, high fan expectations, and changing music scenes. They explore whether Taylor Swift's "Red" succumbed to this curse, concluding that despite its sonic diversity and the infamous Grammy loss, "Red" actually transcended the curse, with its eclectic sound becoming a bridge to pop and solidifying its status as a fan favorite over time. The episode also teases the release of "Red (Taylor's Version)," expressing excitement for the new recordings, particularly the 10-minute version of "All Too Well," and discussing the anticipation for its accompanying short film.

Summary Notes

Fourth Album Curse

  • The fourth album curse refers to a trend where artists' fourth albums underperform in comparison to their first three albums.
  • This curse is characterized by poorer performance, diminished sound quality, and a general lack of popularity with the public.
  • Factors contributing to the curse include artist burnout, high fan expectations, and changes in the music scene.
  • Artists often change their sound on the fourth album to adapt to new trends or combat boredom, which may not resonate with fans or the general public.
  • The curse is controversial; some believe it's real, while others see it as a coincidence.

"the fourth album curse is a term that is used to refer to a trend that a large number of artists fourth albums have actually suffered"

This quote defines the fourth album curse and suggests that it is a recognized pattern within the music industry.

"by this point in their careers they're very well established and they may be suffering from burnout which leads to a lack of creativity"

The quote explains one reason for the fourth album curse: established artists may experience burnout, leading to less creative output.

"usually artists have developed large fandoms that have followed them throughout their first three albums and these fans usually have quite high expectations from the next album"

This quote highlights the pressure from fans' high expectations as a contributing factor to the fourth album curse.

"by the time an artist's fourth album comes around the musical scene has usually shifted"

The quote points out that changes in the music scene can affect the reception of an artist's fourth album, potentially contributing to the curse.

Artists' Opinions on the Curse

  • Cameron believes the curse might be self-inflicted by artists seeking to innovate and avoid stagnation.
  • He argues that the sophomore album curse is more understandable due to the pressure of replicating a successful debut with limited time.
  • The fourth album curse is seen as an amalgamation of coincidences rather than a real curse.

"I think the kind of combination of already having three albums establishing a sound but not wanting to just run with that sound forever and wanting to create something new and exciting"

Cameron suggests that artists themselves may inadvertently create the conditions for the fourth album curse by trying to innovate.

"I think the sophomore album because I can get more behind than the fourth."

Cameron expresses greater belief in the sophomore album curse than the fourth album curse, due to the unique pressures of following up a debut album.

Examples of the Fourth Album Curse

  • Albums mentioned as potentially suffering from the curse include Avril Lavigne's "Goodbye Lullaby," Rihanna's "Rated R," and Lady Gaga's "Joanne."
  • These albums are characterized by poor sales, unwell-received sound changes, or lack of chart-topping singles.
  • The discussion acknowledges that while some albums may seem cursed to the general public, they can still be embraced by dedicated fans.

"some of these albums include Avril Lavigne's Goodbye Lullaby, Rihanna's Rated R, Lady Gaga's Joanne, Katy Perry's Witness, Justin Bieber's Changes."

This quote lists specific examples of albums that are considered to have suffered from the fourth album curse.

"each of these kind of have their own peculiarities some of them um are said to have suffered the curse because of poor sales performances others because the change in the sound was just not very well received"

The quote explains that the perceived curse can manifest in various ways, such as poor sales or negative reception to changes in sound.

"usually these albums though they're considered to be cursed like by the general public fandoms do usually embrace these albums just as well as any other ones."

This quote acknowledges that fan reception can differ from the general public's perception, with fans often supporting albums labeled as cursed.

Red Taylor's Version

  • The hosts discuss "Red Taylor's Version" and its relation to the fourth album curse.
  • They consider how Taylor Swift's fourth album, "Red," performed and whether it avoided the curse.
  • The hosts express excitement for the release of "Red Taylor's Version" and plan to discuss its content and their anticipation.

"we're going to start off by talking about what the fourth album curse is and explaining it and then discussing albums and artists that have suffered from this supposed curse."

The hosts introduce the topic of the fourth album curse and set the stage for discussing "Red Taylor's Version."

"and then we'll move on obviously to discuss Taylor's fourth album which is Red and whether the album suffered this curse or actually avoided it."

This quote indicates that the hosts will analyze Taylor Swift's fourth album, "Red," in the context of the fourth album curse.

"and then we'll go on to talk about Red Taylor's Version all the stuff that we know about it and um our excitement um for its release on Friday"

The quote conveys the hosts' enthusiasm for the upcoming release of "Red Taylor's Version" and their intention to discuss it in detail.

Ed Sheeran's Album Sequence and Collaborations

  • Ed Sheeran's discography includes albums titled with mathematical symbols (e.g., plus, multiply, divide).
  • His "No.6 Collaborations Project" was initially considered more of an EP than an album.
  • The discussion speculates on whether Ed Sheeran considers "No.6 Collaborations Project" as his fourth album or not.

"Random kind of album placed in the middle of the other numerical albums because obviously you've got you know plus whatever multiply divide. and then you suddenly got this one now we've gone back to equations again if you like equals um so I don't want to think about this one whether he is because yeah whether he deems this one his fourth because. yeah. it's a collaborate because obviously he had number six collaborations which was more of an EP um number five. yeah number five. sorry. yeah number five clubs which was more of. kind of an EP."

The quote discusses the placement of Ed Sheeran's "No.6 Collaborations Project" within his album sequence, which typically uses mathematical symbols. It questions whether Sheeran regards this project as his fourth main album or as a separate entity, given its EP-like nature.

The Subjectivity of Album Success and the "Fourth Album Curse"

  • Some albums are considered part of the "fourth album curse," where an artist's fourth album underperforms compared to their previous work.
  • Avril Lavigne's "Goodbye Lullaby" and Ariana Grande's "Sweetener" are cited, noting the latter had hit singles but mixed album reviews.
  • The concept of the "fourth album curse" is debated within fan communities and is subjective.

"So each of the albums kind of have their own differences as to why they're considered as part of the curse but of course within the fandoms I think all of these albums are loved."

This quote acknowledges that while some albums may be perceived as part of the "fourth album curse," they are still cherished within their respective fan communities, highlighting the subjectivity of album success.

Adele's Upcoming Album and Potential Pitfalls

  • Adele is described as a "titan" in the music industry, with high expectations for her albums.
  • There's speculation that Adele's upcoming fourth album might not change much in sound, potentially falling into a pattern.
  • Despite this, Adele's popularity suggests she may not suffer in terms of sales or critical response.

"I think that Adele is going to possibly fall into the trap of doing the same thing."

The quote suggests that Adele's upcoming album may not deviate from her established style, which could be seen as a lack of innovation.

Beyoncé's Fourth Album "4" and the Avoidance of the Curse

  • Beyoncé's fourth album, aptly named "4," is recognized for avoiding the "fourth album curse."
  • The album didn't produce as many hit singles but was supported by standout performances.
  • The YouTube channel Pop Dissected is recommended for further analysis of Beyoncé's success with "4."

"Beyoncé's fourth album kind of didn't spawn as big as singles as her previous three albums however it the era itself seems to have avoided the curse by having these really amazing standout performances."

The quote highlights how Beyoncé's fourth album managed to avoid the "fourth album curse" not through hit singles but through memorable performances, indicating different metrics of success.

Taylor Swift's "Red" and the Fourth Album Curse

  • Taylor Swift's "Red" is debated in the context of the "fourth album curse."
  • "Red" marked a shift from country to pop, which was a significant change for Swift.
  • The album's classification as country despite its pop singles is discussed.
  • The potential impact of label influence on the album's creation is noted.
  • The single "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" represented a clear move to pop.
  • "Red" is described as eclectic and not sonically cohesive, which was a point of criticism that influenced Swift's subsequent work.

"Red was the first time that Taylor really explored and moved closer to the pop genre."

This quote summarizes the significant genre shift in Taylor Swift's "Red," indicating a deliberate move away from her country roots towards pop music.

"Taylor became obsessed with people criticizing it for not being sonically cohesive so much so it led to 1989 being what it was."

The quote explains the reaction to "Red" not being sonically cohesive, which influenced Taylor Swift's approach to her next album, "1989," aiming for a more unified sound.

Fear of Changing Sound

  • Taylor Swift's transition from country to pop was met with mixed reactions from fans and critics.
  • Concerns about alienating country fans while attracting a pop audience were evident.
  • The change in sound was a significant factor in the perception of the "Red" album era.

"this fear of either sounding too much like how she did or sounding too different the middle ground where there is country songs appeal to the country fans and the fans have been there since the country days."

This quote highlights the delicate balance Taylor Swift had to maintain in evolving her music to appeal to both her original country fan base and the new pop audience.

The 56th Grammy Awards Incident

  • Taylor Swift's "Red" album was nominated for Album of the Year at the 2014 Grammy Awards.
  • The announcement of the winner caused a brief moment of confusion, leading fans to think "Red" had won.
  • The actual winner was "Random Access Memories" by Daft Punk.
  • The moment is considered a significant letdown in the Taylor Swift fandom, with claims that she was "robbed" of the Grammy.

"this event has become an infamous moment within the taylor swift fandom when the winner was actually announced it did seem for a split second that it could have been red as it was announced uh how it was pronounced when it was announced the album that one started with an r as well."

This quote captures the disappointment felt by Taylor Swift's fans during the Grammy Awards when "Red" did not win Album of the Year, despite the initial confusion.

Refuting the "Cursed" Fourth Album

  • Despite the challenges, "Red" was a commercial success, with "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" becoming Taylor's first number one single on the Billboard chart.
  • "Red" served as a bridge to her next album, "1989," and is considered a fan favorite.
  • The album's diverse music was well-received, with singles and other songs like "All Too Well" gaining popularity.

"she changed up her sound but it reached a larger audience it's spawn chart topping singles and loads of amazing performances and to be honest with you red has become a fan favorite."

This quote refutes the idea that "Red" was a cursed album, emphasizing its success and the positive reception of its singles and performances.

The Impact of Grammy Wins on Success

  • There is a debate on whether Grammy wins are essential for an album's success.
  • Other albums, like Miley Cyrus's "Bangerz," did not win Grammys but are still considered iconic.
  • Classic albums from artists like Fleetwood Mac and The Beatles are remembered for their music, not their awards.

"people put too much weight on the grammys and whether an album or era is nominated or wins and then therefore whether it's successful."

This quote suggests that the value of an album should not be solely determined by its success at award shows like the Grammys.

"Red" Album's Legacy Over Time

  • Over time, "Red" has been recognized as one of the top albums of the decade.
  • Critics praised Taylor Swift's songwriting, and the album's sound has been reassessed positively in retrospect.
  • "Red" was placed in the top 100 of Rolling Stone's 500 greatest albums of all time.

"through time now when people look back at it it's kind of at the end of 2019 for example it was classified as top albums of that decade in so many lists and one list in particular is the rolling stones list which they placed red in the top 100 of their 500 greatest albums of all time."

This quote highlights the enduring legacy of "Red," indicating its recognition as one of the greatest albums, contrary to the idea of it being cursed.

Taylor Swift's Reflection on "Red"

  • Taylor Swift has reflected on the "Red" album, acknowledging its fragmented nature as reflective of her emotional state at the time.
  • The album's variety of emotions and sounds is seen as an authentic representation of heartbreak.

"yeah it's fragmented and broken because when i wrote it i was a bit fragmented and broken."

This quote reveals Taylor Swift's personal connection to the "Red" album and her acceptance of its varied and emotional sound.

Anticipation for "Red (Taylor's Version)"

  • The upcoming release of "Red (Taylor's Version)" has generated excitement and speculation among fans.
  • Fans plan to listen to the album in different ways, with some focusing on the "Vault" tracks or the extended version of "All Too Well."

"so yeah now we're going to properly discuss it everything that we know everything that we're excited about but first i just wanted to ask lisa how are you planning on listening to the album are you going to start start at the start and go right to the end are you starting with the vault tracks first are you starting with all too well 10 minutes."

This quote captures the anticipation and personal listening strategies fans have for "Red (Taylor's Version)," highlighting the album's significance and the excitement surrounding its release.

Track Lengths and Expectations

  • The conversation begins with a discussion about the lengths of the vault tracks from Taylor Swift's album, which have been revealed on iTunes.
  • "All Too Well" is notably 10 minutes and 20 seconds long.
  • The Chris Stapleton collaboration "I Bet You Think About Me" is 6 minutes long, longer than the original "All Too Well."
  • Other tracks follow a more traditional length around three minutes and twenty seconds.

"All too well it's 10 minutes 20 seconds." "Another long one was the Chris Stapleton collaboration I bet you think about me six minutes."

These quotes highlight the significant lengths of the tracks mentioned, with "All Too Well" being over 10 minutes and "I Bet You Think About Me" being 6 minutes, indicating their importance and the anticipation for their content.

Album Sound and Evolution

  • The speakers discuss whether the vault tracks will align with the country or pop aspects of the album.
  • It's predicted that there will be a mix of sounds, with the Chris Stapleton track leaning towards country, while others may have a pop influence.
  • Some tracks are expected to have evolved into a sound similar to Taylor Swift's "folklore" and "evermore" albums, as observed with previous tracks like "Fearless."

"The Chris Stapleton being on the track is going to mean that it's gonna be more of a country-sounding song." "I think we might even get some songs that kind of have been adapted and evolved into more of her folklore evermore sound."

These quotes discuss the anticipated variety in the album's sound, with expectations of country influences as well as evolved sounds akin to Swift's later works, reflecting the dynamic nature of her music.

Vault Tracks and Adaptations

  • There is excitement about how the vault tracks will sound compared to the original demos and other artists' versions.
  • The speakers are particularly eager to hear "Babe" and "Better Man" with Taylor's full studio vocals.
  • There is speculation about whether the tracks will sound different from the leaked demos or live performances.

"I'm definitely intrigued to hear those and I'm so excited to hear babe with Taylor's full studio vocals." "It's going to be very cool to be able to compare like obviously we have her like you just mentioned the recently leaked version."

These quotes express enthusiasm for hearing the full studio versions of the tracks and the curiosity to compare them with previously leaked demos and other performances, indicating the high level of fan engagement and analysis.

Snippet Reactions and Album Expectations

  • The speakers discuss their reactions to snippets of re-recorded songs like "22," "I Knew You Were Trouble," and "Red."
  • There is a mix of apprehension and trust in Taylor Swift's creative process, with some snippets sounding different than expected.
  • The preference for Taylor's version of songs over the original recordings is expressed.

"I trust her I trust the process." "I prefer it so much more the way that she sings the other side of the door."

These quotes convey a sense of trust in Taylor Swift's artistic decisions and a preference for her newer interpretations of her songs, suggesting a strong connection between the artist and her fans.

Promotional Events and Performances

  • The speakers list upcoming events and performances related to the promotion of "Red (Taylor's Version)."
  • Taylor Swift is scheduled to appear on talk shows, perform on "SNL," and participate in various award ceremonies.
  • The Grammy nomination ceremony and other awards where Taylor is nominated are also mentioned.

"On the 13th she is going to be performing on SNL." "On the 23rd we have the Grammy nomination ceremony."

These quotes outline the busy schedule of promotional events and performances for "Red (Taylor's Version)," showcasing the extensive efforts to promote the album and the anticipation for Taylor Swift's appearances.

"All Too Well" Short Film Announcement

  • A trailer for the "All Too Well" 10-minute version short film has been released, generating excitement.
  • The film stars Sadie Sink and Dylan O'Brien and is written and directed by Taylor Swift.
  • The speakers speculate on the roles of the actors and the potential connections to previous music videos and songs.

"A trailer has just dropped for all too well 10-minute version a brand new short film starring written and directed by Taylor." "Sadie sinks from Strange Things and Dylan O'Brien is known for Teen Wolf and things like Maze Runner."

These quotes reveal the breaking news of the "All Too Well" short film and the notable actors involved, emphasizing the excitement and significance of this visual accompaniment to the song.

Final Thoughts and Engagement

  • The episode concludes with a reminder for listeners to follow the podcast on social media and share their thoughts on the "fourth album curse" and "Red (Taylor's Version)."
  • The hosts express their happiness for the upcoming release week of "Red (Taylor's Version)."

"Make sure you let us know your thoughts on the fourth album curse and whether red and the other albums we discussed deserve to be deemed as cursed albums." "We hope that you have a happy red taylor's version release week."

These quotes encourage listener engagement and interaction with the podcast while conveying the hosts' positive sentiments towards the album release, fostering a sense of community among fans.

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